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Why Snowden Did Right 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-private dept.
Bruce66423 writes: "Ebon Moglen Gives a comprehensive explanation of how the NSA's surveillance operations are a threat to a functioning democracy, and why there is a need for real change. There are interesting parallels to the Roman Empires: 'The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders' control of communications. ... The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed. Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world. That power eradicated human freedom. "Remember," said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, "wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.'

Nowadays, 'Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism. In the US, the telecommunications companies have legal immunity for their complicity, thus easing the way further. The invasion of our net was secret, and we did not know that we should resist. But resistance developed as a fifth column among the listeners themselves. Because of Snowden, we now know that the listeners undertook to do what they repeatedly promised respectable expert opinion they would never do. They always said they would not attempt to break the crypto that secures the global financial system. That was false.'"
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Why Snowden Did Right

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  • Hah hah hah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @01:55PM (#47100989)

    Apparently the NSA and CIA don't want us to read that - the link points to how / when to write a kernel module.

  • thank you Snowden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by watcher-rv4 (2712547) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @01:56PM (#47101007)
    If somebody did something right in the last decades, politically speaking, was Snowden.
    • Not rocket science (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:17PM (#47101209)

      If you trust coercive authority, then snowden did wrong. If you do not trust coercive authority, then snowden did right.

      Unfortunately, the vast majority of human beings (regardless of where they live in the world) DO trust coercive authority, and this of course makes life a hell of a lot easier for the elite the top of the power pyramid.

      • by B33rNinj4 (666756)
        Pretty much. As long as their one or two ideological issues are addressed, or at least attempted to be addressed, people will gladly ignore everything else. However, he's far from the hero people claim. In fact, hearing nothing from him after Anna Chapman's marriage proposal has made me lost trust in him. How could an honest man say no to her?
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:24PM (#47101269)

      If somebody did something right in the last decades, politically speaking, was Snowden.

      My daughter had to write an essay for her high school literature class about someone she considered to be a hero. Three kids wrote their essay about Edward Snowden. No one else was picked by more than one student. I have hope for the next generation. Maybe they will do better than we are doing.

    • But could he have done it better?
      It seems that he took the dramatic going out in a blaze of glory method, and not more a way where he gone threw the right channels.

      What I think is more important isn't what the NSA did, but the fact that there didn't seem to be a policy to whistle blow without causing all the fuss. A policy where they could have quietly ruled the action illegal. Stopped it, without getting the world so pissy towards the United States.

      That is the debate I want to hear, not about NSA doing b

      • Re:thank you Snowden (Score:5, Informative)

        by digsbo (1292334) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:46PM (#47101481)
        This has repeatedly been shown to be impossible. People who continue to argue that he should have gone through legal channels need only read this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]

        I'm not sure how many more times this question needs to be asked and answered. The NSA, or any other unaccountable power structure, will not self-regulate.

        • It is only impossible, because no one is willing to try to solve the problem.
          The opponents to the NSA wants everything public anyways, so there is no motivation in good government of an organization they don't like.
          The proponents on the NSA want to keep things as is.

          The problem with today's time, is compromise means weakness on your view. Because a good compromise is where both sides are unhappy. However both sides get a little more then they want, and often things move forward.

          • Re:thank you Snowden (Score:5, Interesting)

            by digsbo (1292334) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:09PM (#47102141)
            I'd liken this to the difference between the immune system and a cancer.

            There are legitimate activities undertaken by the FBI daily. Such examples as child porn, kidnapping, and other Federal law enforcement duties. I think of these as being more like the immune system.

            There are other activities the FBI engages in like entrapment of mentally deficient individuals into terror "plots" where they convince some nearly retarded guy that he's got a truck full of explosives, and to drive them into a sensitive target. This is more like cancer.

            Now where there are good and bad aspects to what the FBI does, it's tough to understand in what way the NSA or CIA are doing anything that's healthy for the nation. Seems mostly like stuff to justify their own existence (CIA creates enemies by interfering in other countries' government, NSA makes enemies by violating other countries' citizens' privacy, both groups then use blowback to justify their budget/unconstitutional actions).

            • I'd liken this to the difference between the immune system and a cancer.

              There are legitimate activities undertaken by the FBI daily. Such examples as child porn, kidnapping, and other Federal law enforcement duties. I think of these as being more like the immune system.

              There are other activities the FBI engages in like entrapment of mentally deficient individuals into terror "plots" where they convince some nearly retarded guy that he's got a truck full of explosives, and to drive them into a sensitive target. This is more like cancer.

              I'd liken that more to AIDS...

              • by digsbo (1292334)
                My apologies for not using a bad car analogy. But cancer...cancer takes energy from the host organism to overgrow, aggressively, until the host dies. The model of highly budgeted out-of-control government agencies fits that model well. AIDS is an infectious disease that weakens the host slowly enough to spread. I don't see how that fits in this case.
        • by pnutjam (523990)
          ...but it works for industry...
          /sarcasm
        • Thanks for posting this link --- interesting to see their take on it.

          We have similar issues in Canada with the spooks collecting information all over the place under the guise of defending us.

          It is wrong.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        US intelligence agencies operate with a policy of misinformation, they work from the top-down to indoctrinate their members that what they do is right, and for the good of the nation, and mustn't be revealed. Policy makers that are brought into this discussion are treated to the same indoctrination; taught that their cooperation is necessary to prevent "terrorism," a conveniently nebulous force that we all know can never truly be defeated. Read about how the NSA avoided or defeated policies that would rein [newyorker.com]
      • When those in power have no consciences, they must be publicly shamed into changing their ways.

  • One more blowout (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @01:57PM (#47101021) Journal

    Greenwald's Finale: Naming Victims of Surveillance
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/26/greenwalds_finale_naming_victims_of_surveillance_122747.html [realclearpolitics.com]

    The source article [thesundaytimes.co.uk] is paywalled

  • I have no idea where that link is supposed to take you, it's entirely wrong (way to go editors)
    But here's the start of a 4 part talk by Eben Moglen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • Almost... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    From TFA:"Nowadays, 'Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism."

    It's not capitalism if the government has its hooks in every aspect of trade and communications.
    • Re:Almost... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:09PM (#47101129)
      It's not democracy if capitalism has its hooks in every aspect of government.
      • If you're saying that we have neither capitalism nor democracy, then I agree.

        Now what are we going to do about it?
        • by Ravaldy (2621787)

          Do we really practice the rights we have being part of a democracy? In my opinion the answer is no. We just go about our days and most of us don't really care about politics. Proof of this is the declining election attendance. You'll say it's not that important but what people forget is that it's a right that was acquired through hard work. This is especially true for women and African Americans.

          Just like voting, getting involved in political circles is how you make change happen. If you aren't happy with s

      • It's not democracy if capitalism has its hooks in every aspect of government.

        Capitalism doesn't have hooks it can put in government. A government highly influenced by corporations is cronyism, or straight out bribery. And lest we give "Big Academia" a pass, a government highly influenced by large universities with millions of dollars is also cronyism.

      • Re:Almost... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:34PM (#47101357)

        So, essentially, in a communist world, the government controls the industry, and in a capitalist world it's exactly the opposite thereof?

        Uh... can I choose "neither"?

  • The linky points to a kernel hacking article.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:04PM (#47101085)

    If all Snowden had done was blow the whistle on domestic surveillance programs, I'd agree entirely.

    But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries - puts Snowden in another category. What that category winds up being is going to be decided by history. But it won't be that of a simple whistleblower doing nothing but good.

    Because the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal. (At least have the balls to admit that, please.)

    • by mellon (7048) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:25PM (#47101273) Homepage

      You presume that U.S. citizens are the only ones whose rights matter. Don't feel bad—many of us U.S. citizens think the same way. But you will find if you talk to citizens of other countries, like Germany and Canada and France, that they also care about these issues, and care that the NSA, GCHQ and others have spied on them. And, more importantly, the techniques that the NSA has used to pwn the net are so damaging that even when they are used for legitimate foreign policy reasons, the harm they do to our domestic interests is massive. And the bugs they planted in Cisco router firmware are even worse: they have motivated people to use Chinese tech instead of American tech, and in the process likely created an opportunity for the Chinese government to collect intelligence in our stead. Is that better than nobody being able to collect the intelligence?

      • you will find if you talk to citizens of other countries, like Germany and Canada and France, that they also care about these issues, and care that the NSA, GCHQ and others have spied on them.

        Just curious, did any of those citizens of other countries say that it was wrong for THEIR country's intelligence agencies to spy on people from other countries?

        • by mellon (7048)

          You're kidding, right? Do you not follow the news? Of course they did, just like we are doing here in the U.S.

        • by dinfinity (2300094) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:54PM (#47102513)

          Just curious, did any of those citizens of other countries say that it was wrong for THEIR country's intelligence agencies to spy on people from other countries?

          The amount of spying on allies by those 'other countries' is (or at least seems) quite limited. Especially compared to the ridiculous dragnet the U.S. has deployed.

          I really have to emphasize that the whole 'spying on Americans is wrong, but all other humans on this planet are fair game' is a sentiment that breeds deep, deep resentment. Being friends or allies centers around reciprocity. Guess what 'well, fuck the rest of the world' is reciprocated with?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867)

      But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries

      It's hilarious how Americans are not at all bothered by the US spying on the whole rest of the world, including their own allies.

      Fuck those guys right? Only Americans deserve any privacy that doesn't need to be taken through digital superiority.

      Nah I'm just kidding, it's actually worse than that. They don't think about how many foreigners' privacy they invade any more than they think about how many ants they run over on their morning commute.

      • Let's go after them for what they're doing that's unconstitutional and against their mandate before we go after them for what they were specifically founded to do and is, indeed, their job.

        Fix our own house first. Maybe if we get some more reasonable politicians in power, the U.S.'s stance towards the rest of the world will improve in the process anyway. Don't confuse the attitude of those in power with the attitudes of those they represent. Priorities.

    • If the NSA only spied for military purposes on foreign governments, I would see your point. The NSA spied on German citizens, not just their military. Since it's all "secret" we really don't know a motive, but looking at how the police there shut down demonstrations real time similar to how OWS was shut down in the US you should be questioning their handling and use of the data. I could point to similar incidents in the UK, where again the NSA was spying on citizens not just military with similar results

    • Actually that's the CIA's job. The NSA is supposed to do internal counterespionage.
    • ...included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries...

      I guess some of that depends on your interpretation of what the NSA is "supposed to do". The Intelligence world is a bit funny in that, probably every country's Intelligence agencies are doing some things that they're are in some ways illegal and unethical, like spying on private communications of their allies' leaders. Are they "supposed to do" those things? I don't know.

    • by DrJimbo (594231) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:34PM (#47101855)

      But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do [...]

      This was a lie when it was said about Chelsea Manning and it is a lie when it is said about Edward Snowden. Neither one of them did a "massive document dump" although they both had the opportunity. Instead, they did the responsible thing and disclosed what they found to news organizations to let the news organizations decide what was safe to publish and what wasn't.

      If the only way you can support your world-view is with outright lies, perhaps you need to reconsider your world-view. Of course, those who most need to reconsider almost never do.

      • by Lt.Hawkins (17467) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:08PM (#47103303) Homepage

        Apparently in your worldview, news organizations are unbiased and don't have any ulterior motives like "ratings" and "click conversions" and "sell books" and "scoop the other news organization" and their own political agenda. ABC News, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Fox News are all equivalent and will all publish the same items with the same unbiased coverage.

        Manning and Snowden did a massive data dump to organizations who will publish anything to get eyeballs. Slow news day? Lets pull out another one of these millions of documents, because outrage at the NSA sells and wins awards.

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Here here I've been saying that all along, I was terribly disappointed when he provided the legitimate espionage information, particularly on China. The NSA domestic surveillance of the US population was a direct threat to our republic. The surveillance of China allowed us to better understand the Chinese their motivations and their hot buttons.

      And though I dislike spying on "allies" the point is that every nation must look out for their own interests. The NSA is most certainly spying on the German PM just

  • by sgt_doom (655561) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:07PM (#47101115)

    No Place To Hide

    by Glenn Greenwald

    The full force and impact of this book on NSA's full spectrum domestic and international surveillance cannot be stressed enough; what we have heard and read in various international news articles is gathered here at one source, to be read to fully grasp the enormity of it all!

    When those of us who served in the military, and worked for various organizations for the NSA (Naval Security Group, or NSG, Army Security Agency, or the ASA, USAF Security Service), the agency was strictly forbidden from domestic surveillance --- for that way lies ultimate power!

    During Reagan's administration, in 1988, the NSA was transferred from civilian status to the domain of the Department of Defense, under control of the Pentagon.

    Such action initiated what Greenwald so aptly describes as its present incarnation of Orwellian dimensions.

    Although Glenn cogently describes its financial intelligence spying, only those who have been diligently following the financial investigative journalism of Matt Taibbi, Pam Martens and Nomi Prins will fully appreciate the significance of this.

    When NSA's full spectrum intelligence is disseminated to its clients --- the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, etc. --- it is being likewise dispersed to Wall Street (DOT = Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, DOA = Big Agra, or ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, etc., and DOJ = Wall Street's white-shoe firms, etc.).

    This is a slight peek behind the curtain of the unholy financial-intelligence-complex which sits atop the pyramid of control.

    Remember that Edward Snowden was a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, and has proven to the world his unimaginable and extraordinary access to the most senstive of NSA programs --- and who owns Booz Allen?

    One of the top private equity/leveraged buyout firms (private banks), the Carlyle Group, with the likes of George H.W. Bush as a past advisor, and with the original seed money coming from the Mellon family.

    Thusly we must ask just how much access to global financial intelligence do these private banks routinely enjoy, along with their publicly owned cousins, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?

    When NSA intercepts shipments of routers, switches and other network devices to insert backdoor software and hardware to reroute data communications back to them --- it isn't about national security --- just financial intelligence --- had anyone of those traitors ever been concerned with real national security they would have sounded the alarm about the offshoring of jobs, technology and investment to China and elsewhere!

    When the Boeing subsidiary, Narus (or other similar firms), aids totalitarian countries to capture pro-democracy activists for torture and death, so too does the NSA help in preemptive arrests of American activists and community organizers, as well as members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    As one National Intelligence Officer is quoted in the book as stating, "...this is about vast profit..."

    [Please see the bottom of p. 224 and top of p. 225 to understand why no one should give a rat's ass at the recent firing of New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson.]

    This is a fantastic book not to be missed!

    Additional sources and pertinent sites:

    http://electrospaces.blogspot.... [blogspot.com]

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/def... [aclu.org]

    http://www.mindmeister.com/326... [mindmeister.com]

    http://www.wikileaks-forum.com... [wikileaks-forum.com]

    • Well said. Cui bono - who benefits? Government officials like Michael Hayden keep conjuring up the terrorist boogieman to rationalize totalitarian surveillance but in the end "Knowledge is Power" and that is the ultimate objective. Access to all information - virtual omniscience - can cement any party's rule and wealth and some would do anything to obtain that power. I recommend watching PBS's recent Frontline documentary for an in depth look at the surveillance state. Our government is heavily influenced

  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:24PM (#47101265) Homepage Journal
    If you think back 40-50, one of the primary criticism of Soviet Russia was that no one in that country did any real work. In industry you sat around all day playing chess, and the governement most spent it's time surveilling itself and everyone else. While this was an exaggeration, the point should be well taken. The purpose of a governement is to govern, and if too many resources are spent spying, if the stability is so strained that constant monitoring of citizens is required, then that nation-state is not going to survive very long. It is not only the expense, it is the waste of talent, the existence of meaningless jobs. This later is really death to a country. If young people know they need no real education because they can just chill in the military or hang out and drink vodka while spying on other people, why would they bother to gain real skills?
    • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:51PM (#47101545)

      I think you'll find that the NSA is relatively efficient at what it does in terms of its mission statement. That's the more chilling analogy here. 40 to 50 years ago it took massive amounts of "feet on the street" to gather intelligence along with lots of time to analyze the information. Now with wholesale wiretapping of all forms of communication there's not much that our government can't learn about nearly every citizen in the country. By nearly we have to think of kids who aren't on the Internet or have a cell phone yet. If you start to tie together the communications surveillance with the amount of surveillance that goes on from commercial entities and local law enforcement a profile on the behaviors and destinations of every American is now at hand. Your license plates on your car are tracked, your credit card/banking transactions tracked. Your travel is now tracked both by "chipped" passports and airline itineraries. Even your transit pass is tracking you. We may have backed into our Orwellian surveillance world in the name of easy shopping or "security" but that certainly doesn't mean that we have to allow it to continue. That's the failure of our democracy right now, we're failing to push our leadership to dismantle this system and to push for legislation that would outlaw these wholesale collection processes in the first place.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      I'm not sure what you mean by real skills. Are you saying it doesn't take real skills to spy on people?

  • They are still tapping phones, they are still encroaching on our very-so-precious privacy. I don't want NSA to hear me talk sex with a russian prostitute overseas. It's my right as an American to do what I want behind closed doors....

    Snowden is just popular because it's cool to disrupt the status-quo and by doing so, he is therefore part of the status-quo - meaning nothing has changed and nothing will ever change because there is nothing that needs to be changed...

  • Civilizations collapse when they become to complex to manage, and are no longer able to adapt to perturbations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Tainter).

    The meddling of the NSA, with the resulting responses (everything encrypted, tor, darkmail, privacy protections, binning Cisco/Huawei routers, general distrust and added security overhead) has added a huge burden to the system. This unintended consequence makes the system unstable and counterproductive to the aims of the NSA.

    The internet used to be a

  • One chance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:39PM (#47101411) Journal

    The author makes good points, that the only way such surveillance could be allowed to occur is with informed consent, and that's what Snowden gave us the opportunity to do.

    I think the upcoming two elections in the US, 2014 and 2016, will be the most important votes cast in the history of the world. The US Government with the actions of the NSA has essentially imprisoned the entire world with invisible bars. When everything you say is recorded and monitored and the military/LEO might exists to punish you immediately and thoroughly, you are not free. You can't see the bars, but you're still a prisoner.

    The rest of the world has no ability to dismantle the prison. They do not get a say in the working of the US Government. Force is not an option as the US military outstrips every other force on earth combined.

    Domestically, protest is worthless. Those in power do not listen, do not care, and target those who protest with their surveillance state, as evidenced by the reaction to Occupy Wall Street.

    The one and only way to dismantle the prison is for the voters of the United States to vote only for candidates who promise to dismantle it, and then hold them accountable for doing so. That's it. It's the only way to dismantle the system. Force won't work, protests won't work, only voting will.

    So this is it. If the American voters reject the surveillance state in 2014 and 2016, there's hope. But if they don't, if they don't care, if they vote for establishment candidates who will keep the system in place, then that's it. The surveillance state will exist with the informed consent of the US voters, the mandate is set, and the doors to the world prison will clink shut, with little to no chance of ever opening again. To the rest of the world, your only hope is the United States voting public.

  • Cowards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:45PM (#47101459) Journal

    The sad truth is the majority of Americans are fundamentally cowards. That, combined with the human tendency to grossly over estimate the risks from rare events with severe consequences creates this problem.

    Unlike a war which happens over there terrorist acts can happen anywhere. If they can happen anywhere, they can happen here, to me! Gasp!

    Look at the hysteria that occurred when the anthrax mailings were going on. People were reporting "white powder" everywhere and breathlessly telling each other "that could've been me, I could have DIED".

    No, not really. Unless you were a postal worker, you had a bigger chance of being kicked to death by a wild mule than you did of encountering anthrax in a package.

    The sad truth is people play their potential role up in their mind because they think their lives are boring and uneventful. A terrorist attack may be horrible, but it is exciting, too. People do the same thing with celebrities. "OMG! I ate dinner in the same restaurant as Justin Bieber! He was there the night before!"

    Add all of that together and you get a lot of people who will gladly give up lots of freedom for a little (perceived) security.

    • by NetFu (155538)

      The truth is, human beings as a whole are fundamentally cowards. Until you understand and accept that, you can't really even begin to understand human beings and their motivations.

      You just can't say you could pick a handful of people from any country in any part of the world and expect them to act any different than you describe in your examples.

      • by chill (34294)

        I agree, but don't have enough experience with people from too many other countries to speak in that general sense. I'm immersed in American culture and thus see it every day.

    • Re:Cowards (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NotSanguine (1917456) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:20PM (#47101753)

      The sad truth is the majority of Americans, at least the stereotype I apply to them, are fundamentally cowards. That, combined with the human tendency to grossly over estimate the risks from rare events with severe consequences creates this problem.

      There. FTFY.

      Americans aren't any different from other humans. There are smart ones, dumb ones, good ones and bad ones. Over the past century, geography and good luck (much more so than good planning), gave the American middle class a historic run. Now that's changing again, and Americans are struggling to keep what they have. Most feel they don't have time to focus on government shenanigans, which is a shame, because those who own the government are taking away the security and liberty Americans used to have.

      This makes some Americans paranoid, others complacent, and still others cling more tightly to the idea of American exceptionalism. All of this seems to push folks to act against their own self-interest. Well, except for those who think that the world is theirs to exploit and that if anyone is harmed by their plundering, it's their own damn fault for not getting there first. I call it "survival of the sociopath-iest" and it turns my stomach.

      tl;dr. Americans aren't any more or less cowardly or better or worse than anyone else. Stop painting people with a broad brush. It's counterproductive and leaves your bigotry showing. We're all Homo Sapiens. Full stop.

      • by chill (34294)

        What I'm describing is a societal behavior trait, not necessarily one fundamental to humans as a species. We (Americans) didn't used to have it, but with the comforts of civilization and not having to struggle comes complacency and a softness.

        No, I'm not saying we should go back to struggling for a living, I'm just pointing out a simple fact. Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.

        As an American who has not lived extensively in another country for several years now, I don't presume to speak for t

        • As an American who has not lived extensively in another country for several years now, I don't presume to speak for them. I spoke only for what I am immersed and have experienced first hand. That isn't bigotry, just confining my opinion to what I know -- my own subgroup.

          I'm an American who has lived mostly in the US, and most of the folks I know understand that freedom isn't necessarily safe. And that we must speak and act to protect our liberty, especially in the face of semi-imaginary boogeymen and threats of violence that are less likely to occur than being killed by a VW bug inhabited by 27 clowns.

          If those around you are that ignorant and gullible, I suggest you find a new subgroup, friend.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:46PM (#47101485) Homepage
    Because america, although projected as one, is far from a functional democracy. We've engaged in systematic disenfranchisement and enslavery of an entire race of people during slavery and well into the 20th century within the confines our our policy of mass incarceration. Women didnt achieve equal voting rights until the early 20th century. We wiped an entire indigenous race of humans out of existence during colonization. Voter identification is enforced in 30 states and will prevent free and open election for anyone without a picture ID. Gerrymandering, closed primary elections, and the 2000 florida voter scandal are all conclusive proof we do not even remotely represent a functional democracy and have not for quite some time. Former criminals, after completing their sentence, are barred from the right to vote in many states and may only seek restoration of their voting rights with the pardon of a governor and a steep fee. Many states still maintain a debtors prison system by which those who cannot pay court costs are summarily enrolled in detention facilities. A Third party has not existed in any respectible context in the United States for more than 100 years, and the electoral college system exists to ensure this reality remains unchallenged. There are virtually no repercussions for employers who resist or refuse an employees request for time off from work to vote. Japanese americans faced internment and were not permitted to vote during world war two, let alone contact family members outside of their camp. Jews were barred in america holding state office for quite some time, and atheists to this day in many states are still restricted from holding political office. New York has a stop-and-frisk policy where they do not need probable cause to stop anyone at will. Our supreme court recently ruled that the systemic isolation, relocation, and arrest of protestors during the presidency of George W Bush was entirely legal. As evidenced by the occupy campaign we readily beat, torture, and maim protestors even going to far as to hose passive protestors with pepperspray for simply existing. Our borders have the free right to interrogate, stop, and detain anyone (american or not) without any formal probable cause. Those declared terrorists may be detained indefinitely and shipped to a secret torture camp in Cuba. We have banned the communist party from ever taking part in an american election or operating as political party.

    so while I applaud the author for pointing this very recent discovery out, its critical to remember we are as much a functional democracy as the USSR was a functional communism.
    • by javelinco (652113)
      Okay, what is your definition of a functional democracy? I'm having trouble parsing a positive from your negatives.
      • I think it must be something like "a magical fairyland were everyone is happy and nothing bad ever happens"

    • We wiped an entire indigenous race of humans out of existence during colonization.

      Umm...not quite sure what you mean by this. There are quite a number of Native Americans still around. Although, yes, we were huge, flaming assholes to them.

      Voter identification is enforced in 30 states and will prevent free and open election for anyone without a picture ID

      I wouldn't call that the issue so much as how easy it is to get said ID. We only want citizens voting in our elections, right? It's the same reasoning behind the "must have been born a citizen" candidate rules.

      Gerrymandering, closed primary elections, and the 2000 florida voter scandal are all conclusive proof we do not even remotely represent a functional democracy and have not for quite some time.

      Gerrymandering, yes.
      Last I heard anyone could register (or switch their registration) to the parties that hold closed primaries, can't they? So "

      • by Uberbah (647458)

        We only want citizens voting in our elections, right? It's the same reasoning behind the "must have been born a citizen" candidate rules.

        Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem that doesn't functionally exist, and none of the cases cited by Voter ID supporters would have been prevented by ID's anyway. Because they either point to vote registration fraud, or cases where someone double-voted or was a felon - not preventable by ID.

        I wouldn't call that the issue so much as how easy it is to get said ID.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:24PM (#47101777)

    ... this (mass surveillance) is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They're worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Look at the following graphs:

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]

    And then...

    WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap

    http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Free markets?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    http://www.amazon.com/Empire-I... [amazon.com]

    "We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

    In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion."

  • It would be more constructive if American spying suspected information from mercenaries, and used more double agents as conduits. I for one will be grateful when American spies stop goofiing off, and get back to work.

    Now if only the NSA that monitors everything would tell me where I put my car keys last night. I shouldn't even have to ask, the Intel should just be there for me to consider.
  • I guess that means there is no threat, at least for us, then.

  • In case you didn't get to the bottom of the Guardian essay, that essay comes from "Snowden and the Future [snowdenandthefuture.info]", a 4-part talk series Eben Moglen gave on October 9, October 30, November 13 and December 4 2013. It is highly recommended reading, watching, and/or listening. Audio, video, and transcripts are available at his website.

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